Have you ever seen those odd looking square barcodes on a website and wondered what the heck they where for? Well, today we’ll take a look at how to use those barcodes (called “QR Codes”) to install apps and share contacts with your Android phone.

QR Codes are two dimensional square barcodes that contain data such as URLs, phone numbers, and other text.  Many phones can scan and interpret this data using the built in camera and barcode scanning software. Software developers often include QR codes on their website, so users can install their app easily by scanning the QR code on the computer screen.


What You’ll Need to Scan QR Codes with your Android Phone

  • Android Phone with a built in camera
  • Barcode Scanner software

Installing Apps using QR Codes

First, we’ll need to download and install Barcode Scanner from the Android Market. There are other barcode scanning apps available, but we’ve found Barcode Scanner to be an excellent choice.

When you open Barcode Scanner, you will see a rectangular area with a flashing red line displayed on the screen of your phone. You’ll want to center the QR code inside that display so that it can be read by Barcode Scanner.


When Barcode Scanner is finished reading and identifying the QR code, select Open Browser.

You’ll be forwarded to the App in the Android Market. Now, just click Install.


Sharing Installed Apps via Barcode Scanner

Barcode Scanner can be used to allow others to install any of your currently installed Apps by scanning the QR code directly from the display on your phone (or vice versa). Open the Barcode Scanner and select the menu button on your Android phone. Then select Share.

Next, select Application from the Share via barcode screen.


Select the application to share.

The QR code for the application will be displayed on the screen and can be scanned by another device.  Naturally, they will have to have Barcode Scanner (or another similar barcode scanning app) installed on their phone.

Select the menu button from here and your can send the barcode in a variety of different ways.

Email, IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc…

The QR code is delivered to your friends inbox or displayed in a social networking app and can be easily scanned from the computer screen.

Sharing Contacts via QR Codes


You can also share your contact information with other through QR codes. From the Share via Barcode screen, select Contact.

Scroll through your contacts and select the contact to be shared. It can be your own contact information or anyone else in your Contacts.

All information stored in the contact will be stored in the QR code and displayed on the screen to be scanned.

Just as with applications, you can also send contact information in QR code format via email, Twitter, Facebook, IM, etc.

When you scan the QR code, you will then have the option to Add contact. Depending on the information contained in the contact, you may also have options such as Show map, Dial number, and send Email.  


Sometimes it can be a hassle to search for and install apps using the Android Market, but using QR codes can be a quick and easy alternative. Sales people and others who need to constantly share contact information may want to use Barcode Scanner to generate their own contact QR code and include it in their emails or on their business website.

Barcode Scanner by ZXing @ Google Code